Poll: 90% of Registered Voters Want Firearms Background Checks

Suffolk University/USA Today survey shows low expectations for meaningful legislation

The vast majority of registered voters across the U.S. (90 percent) say that all firearms sales should require background checks, according to a Suffolk University/USA TODAY poll of registered voters. Even among gun-owning households, 90 percent support background checks.

“This is one of the rare instances of a poll result that shows unanimity in the United States,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston. “There is widespread support across every demographic, including geography, gender, age, race and political party affiliation. If there ever was a time for lawmakers from both parties to act, it is now.”

Sixty percent of voters support banning semi-automatic weapons like the AR-15 and AK-47, including nearly half (48 percent) of gun-owning households. However, there were contrasts by gender and political party on banning these semi-automatic assault weapons. Women overwhelmingly support a ban (72 percent to 24 percent), while a majority of men oppose a ban (51 percent to 47 percent). Democrats favor the ban (87 percent to 12 percent), as do independents (55 percent to 42 percent), while Republicans oppose the ban (60 percent to 36 percent).

A majority of voters also support banning magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition (58 percent to 38 percent). Semiautomatic weapons using mega-round magazines have been used in many mass shootings.

Sixty-nine percent of voters also support so-called “red flag” laws that allow courts to temporarily confiscate firearms from those considered a danger to themselves or others.

However, 68 percent of voters don’t believe that Congress will pass any significant gun-control legislation in the coming year.


The nationwide survey of 1,000 voters was conducted Aug. 20 through Aug. 25 using live telephone interviews of households where respondents indicated they were registered to vote. The margin of error is +/-3 percentage points at a 95 percent level of confidence. The margin of error for the subset of 424 voters who plan to vote in their state’s Democratic primary or caucus is +/- 4.76 percentage points. The margin of error for the subset of the 289 Republican and independent voters who plan to vote in their state’s Republican primary or caucus is +/- 5.76 percentage points. Results are posted on the Suffolk University Political Research Center website. For more information, contact David Paleologos at 781-290-9310, [email protected].

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